A 12-year-old girl was shot and killed by a law enforcement agent serving an eviction notice at her home, the Arizona Republic is reporting.
On Monday, a Pennsylvania constable was serving an eviction notice at an apartment complex in the town of Duncannon, just outside of the state capital, Harrisburg. In Pennsylvania, constables, unlike regular police officers, are elected officials, according to the Epoch Times. They have limited law enforcement powers, and instead do mundane things like serve warrants and eviction notices and transport prisoners.
Constable Clarke Steele knocked on the door to the apartment, and the man who answered, 57-year-old Donald Meyer, closed the door, reopened it, said some words to the constable, and then pointed a.223-caliber rifle that had been “slung and concealed along his body” at the constable. The constable shot at the man, but the bullet traveled through his arm and struck the 12-year-old girl, who was standing behind him. She was pronounced dead at the scene.
The girl has been identified as Ciara Meyer, daughter of Donald Meyer.
— Today in Blk (@todayinblk) January 13, 2016
The girl’s father was taken to a nearby hospital for treatment for his injuries suffered in the shooting. He has been charged with aggravated and simple assault, making terroristic threats, and reckless endangerment.
According to sources, the family had known for some time that they were facing eviction — employees of the apartment complex were on-scene to help officers with the eviction process, and Pennsylvania State Trooper Rob Hicks said that the family had received multiple eviction notices.
“When they heard the knock, they knew who it was. The family had received multiple notifications. They in fact knew from their last notification that the constable would be arriving at their house.”
— abc27 WHTM (@abc27News) January 11, 2016
Bill Stoeffler, spokesperson for the Commonwealth Constables Association, said in remarks via WMPT (Harrisburg) that Constable Steele is “distraught” over the girl’s shooting.
“[Steele] is heartsick and heartbroken over the outcome. [It’s] every constable’s absolute worst nightmare. This is a situation that happened very suddenly and very violently. He was put in a position from which he couldn’t retreat safely. He had no other option really than to do what he did and respond as he did.”
Stoeffler was also quick to place the blame for the shooting on the girl’s father.
“Putting on this uniform does not mean we take off our humanity. There was absolutely no reason for the actions of the defendant.”
Ciara Meyer is at least the 12th person killed by police this year, according to the Washington Post. No official government agency in the United States keeps an official record of the number of people killed by police each year, and the Post has been attempting to compile reliable data. Last week, on January 6, the Post reported that 11 people had been killed by police in the United States in 2016 — it is not clear if any people have been killed by police between January 6 and Ciara’s killing on Monday.
The Susquenita School District announced that grief counselors were working with students and staff in the district, although the district did not specifically state that Ciara had been a student in the district.
Meanwhile, a GoFundMe page has been set up to raise money for the girl’s funeral, as well as to “fund a scholarship in The Susquenetia School District against Domestic Violence and Mental Illness.” As of this writing, the fund has received just over $3,400 in donations.
According to Fox News, an autopsy has been scheduled for Ciara on Wednesday.
[Image via Shutterstock/Jim Lambert]